Nehemiah 8:10 “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
We often mistake happiness for joy.
Happiness is fleeting and based on situation and circumstance. It can die with unmet expectations or outcomes that never materialize.
Joy is what sustains us through the deepest valley, the highest mountain, or the darkest night.
Joy knows that there is better coming.
Joy sees through the trials.
Jesus epitomized joy.
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The sacrifice Jesus made was only part of the work He came to complete. The horror, pain, and aloneness He would experience were unlike anything any man has ever had to endure. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain and anguish Jesus suffered much for our salvation became nothing compared to what it would accomplish.
When Jesus entered into Heaven, He placed the blood on the mercy seat. There were great joy and rejoicing. All the promises to the saints who died had come to fruition. When all was complete, Jesus then sat down at the right hand of the Father.
Joy comes when we rest in our relationship with God trusting that He knows best not just for the moment but also for our entire life.
Far too often, we put God on trial with unfair, unbiblical, and unrealistic expectations. When things don’t go as we expected, then it becomes God’s failure and not ours. When we remove our dreams, desires, and expectations, we can rest comforted that God has our best interest in mind.
That kind of joy can become our strength when we live by faith. Faith that God has gifted us and called us to a specific work that will truly satisfy our life more than anything we could ever imagine.
Saints of old revealed to us through the trials they suffered that that joy could be their strength.
The saints who went to the stake sang hymns, preached, and testified of the love for the Savior. Their tormentors were incensed by their ability to endure, cut their tongues out, or fuel added to quicken their death. God gave them the grace to die, giving Him the glory.
Their joy in their relationship with their Heavenly Father became their strength.
Happiness is in the circumstances. Joy is in a relationship with God.
Psalm 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
The eternal picture allows us to see more clearly and give greater joy than we could imagine.
Luke 15:7 “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
If you have ever had the privilege of leading someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, you have witnessed a miracle. It is knowing that nothing we could ever do to save them makes the whole process even more powerful.
It is the Word of God that draws them. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts them. We are there as a mouthpiece and a faithful witness to deliver the message.
We miss out on joy because our priorities are misplaced.
We desire worldly success and the acquisition of money and possessions. It clouds our view of what is truly important.
Where are the children of God who pray for souls’ salvation more than their desire for food? God calls each of us to be ready witnesses wherever we go and to whomever we meet.
1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
Has joy eluded you? Do you live moment by moment, hoping to alleviate the pain with pleasure? God never intended man to endure such things without knowing His presence and comforted by His love, mercy, and grace.
Joy is available to every child of God, no matter where you are in life and what you are going through. Draw night to God and He will draw nigh unto you. If in His presence is fullness of joy, then that is where we must desire to live.